The Trabec trail lid from Swedish protection gurus POC caused quite a stir when it was unveiled at last year's Interbike show and it doesn't look any less alien now it's appeared on our desk.
Its blocky yet organic lines and simple colour scheme certainly set it apart, and it offers more coverage than rivals like Giro's Xen and Xar and Fox's Flux, both in terms of how far it extends down the back of your head and how thick it is – there's up to 4cm of EPS liner between your head and the outer shell in places.
At 350g for our M/L sample it's somewhat heavier than Giro's offerings but roughly the same as the Fox, and we reckon a bit of extra weight is worth it for the extra protection. The thick polystyrene liner, which is reinforced with aramid – the stuff used in ballistic body armour – is in-moulded to a tough polycarbonate outer shell.
There are 16 vents and internal channels for ventilation, and while the fit system is somewhat basic, it does the job. This is a helmet that cradles your head rather than perching on top. For everyday trail riding there are lighter and better ventilated lids out there, but for times when you need a little more protection – enduro races, big mountain riding – or if you're particularly crash-prone, the Trabec looks like a decent option.
RRP is £139.99, and it's available in three sizes. A Race version is also available, with extra aramid for improved protection. Look out for a review of the Trabec in What Mountain Bike magazine soon.